Healthcare IT professionals can only conjecture, for now, how the announced combination of Dell Computer Corp. and EMC Corp. will affect purchasing relationships with the technology giants.

The industry received little immediate insight from Dell, which announced intentions on October 12 to acquire EMC in a deal valued at $67 billion.

Asked the degree to which the companies will be fully merged and a timeline, whether “merge” means healthcare customer accounts will be combined, and if joint development products are on the horizon, a Dell spokesperson said, “We’re not going to speculate about possible future scenarios, timelines and account structures one way or the other.”

Also See: Dell to Buy EMC for $67 Billion

The acquisition could be a very big deal for healthcare IT talent searchers if it results in massive consolidation with many positions being eliminated, says Barry Mathis, a principal in the consulting firm H.I.S. Professionals LLC. “Healthcare IT recruiters should have a field day filling positions, with the lion’s share going to consulting and EHR vendors,” he predicts.

But if Dell isn’t smart, the deal could turn sour, Mathis worries. “I hope Dell does not kill the EMC brand, as it represents many game-changing technology products that have had a major impact on healthcare information systems. HP and IBM should be nervous, as Dell now is the proud owner of a dream team of technologists.”

Mathis wonders whether small hospitals will be able to afford products from the combined companies now that they no longer compete. “The cons may outweigh the pros for small and rural hospitals, making it harder to keep up with rising IT costs and therefore ripe for purchase by larger systems,” he says. “However, large integrated delivery systems and academic medical centers are likely seeing this as an opportunity to consolidate Big Data efforts under one contract that also includes industry leading data backup options. Dell now owns a premier backup technology that instantly puts them ahead of HP and IBM.”

Tony Bryne, founder of vendor evaluation firm Real Story Group, is decidedly unimpressed with the acquisition. In a message to clients, Bryne said both companies thought they could provide complete solutions by combining hardware, software and services, but struggled.

“This is a marriage of two declining concerns,” he wrote. “They could achieve some back-office efficiencies, but they want to tell a more exciting story on the revenue side. That story will likely sound like this: you license laptops, servers and consulting from Dell, and you get enterprise software and storage from EMC, potentially as semi-integrated bundles.”

If that wasn’t warning enough, Bryne sent a stronger message. “I don’t see a future where customers gain anything from procuring Dell servers and EMC storage from the same vendor. EMC and Dell have independently failed to effectively bundle their manifold offerings already; what makes them think they would be more successful together?”

Dell did not respond to specific questions about the deal, nor did a spokesperson respond to the comments made by Byrne.

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